NIGER HOPEFUL OF PEACEFUL TRANSITION IN PRESIDENTIAL RUNOFF

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As vote-counting continues after the second round of Niger’s fifth presidential elections, Mohamed Bazoum took an early lead over ousted former President Mahamane Ousmane (1993-1996). Bazoum, the former interior minister and right-hand man of the incumbent Nigerien president, Mahamadou Issoufou (who voluntarily relinquished power after completing his two five-year terms), is the favourite to win…

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NATO RE-EVALUATES AFGHANISTAN TROOP WITHDRAWAL

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The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) has confirmed that it will keep an undetermined number of international troops in Afghanistan past the May withdrawal deadline previously agreed upon in a US-brokered deal. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg assured that troops would not leave the country “before the time is right” despite the Taliban’s call for a…

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24 FEBRUARY ’21 | PRAY FOR SOUTH SUDAN

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Dear prayer partners, On Friday 19 February, the United Nations (UN) released a report stating that violence in South Sudan continues to rage even after a five-year peace deal was signed about a year ago. In the past year, attacks on civilians by armed groups have intensified, thousands have been abducted in communal conflicts and…

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G5 SUMMIT CONSIDERS OPTIONS FOR COMBATTING DEEPENING CRISES IN SAHEL REGION

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By Donnelly McCleland French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday [16 February] ruled out an immediate reduction of French troops battling Islamist militants in West Africa’s Sahel region, saying a rushed exit would be a mistake. Mr Macron and a group of five African allies — Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger — were taking…

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EGYPT OPENS GAZA BORDER

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On Tuesday 9 February, Egypt opened its Rafah border with the Gaza strip ‘indefinitely’. This crossing functioned as the enclave’s only access point not under Israel’s control but remained mostly closed since the split in the Palestinian government. Fighting broke out when Fatah refused to recognise the unexpected victory of Hamas in the 2006 elections….

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AUSTRALIAN STATE PASSES BILL BANNING ‘CONVERSION THERAPY’

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The legislative council of Victoria – one of Australia’s six states – passed the Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Bill on 4 February by a vote of 27-9 after lengthy debate. The bill, which outlaws any attempt at changing a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, will now go to the Victorian governor for…

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17 FEBRUARY ’21 | PRAY FOR INDIA

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Dear prayer partners, On Sunday 14 February, in the Indian state of Gujarat, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani announced his government would soon instil a strict law against ‘love jihad’, an ‘anti-conversion’ law, in Gujarat. This law is meant to prevent “forced conversions” with a particular focus on preventing conversion through marriage, or by any other…

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MASS PROTESTS CONTINUE IN WAKE OF MYANMAR COUP

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8 February saw continued pro-democracy protests in Myanmar in defiance of the military coup. On 1 February, Myanmar’s military (also called the Tatmadaw) detained the country’s recently elected leaders, including Prime Minister Aung San Suu Kyi. Power was transferred to General Min Aung Hlaing, who imposed a year-long state of emergency. The military said it…

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INDONESIA BANS FORCED RELIGIOUS ATTIRE IN STATE SCHOOLS

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After years of inaction, the Indonesian government has finally acted to prevent state schools from forcing students or staff to wear headscarves or other religious clothing. On 3 February, the Ministry of Education and Culture, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Religion issued a joint ministerial decision on uniforms for students, teachers,…

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10 FEBRUARY ’21 | PRAY FOR LIBYA

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Dear prayer partners, On Friday 5 February, UN-sponsored talks aimed at peace between Libya’s two rival ‘governments’, reached an agreement on a new unity government with the initial formation of an interim government until elections can be held in December 2021. Abdul Hamid Dbeibah was chosen as Libya’s new interim prime minister. Representatives who form…

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